Monthly Archives: November 2014


Thanksgiving has become loaded with traditions for our family. The first one is going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade here in Charlotte. We started going when Wilson was very young, skipped the year when Miller was born, and have gone the past two years. Unfortunately, the last two parades have been very cold. Last year we brought one blanket with us and this year we brought three blankets…and two nephews. It helps to have one blanket to sit on and one to put over our legs. Here we are freezing and watching the parade…


Eventually it got too cold and we ended up watching the end of the parade through the glass in a parking deck. Faith wanted to stay until the end so that she could see Santa.

We then went to my parent’s house for the feast. The usual suspects were there. Gabriel and Shepherd came down from Maryland for thanksgiving without Doug and Jacqueline (they were moving into the new house). We have really enjoyed having them here. The kids played together non-stop throughout the day. I literally saw my kids for a total of ten minutes each at my moms house while all the family was there eating. There were fourteen children there in all, so no one lacked a playmate. It was wonderful! Of course, all I did was bring one dish to share and socialize. Eventually I will need to step up my game and do a bit more of the work. Thanks mom!

Here is just one of the three tables that was set up…

Miller and shepherd have been almost inseparable…


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love all of the delicious food and being around my extended family. I am so thankful that my mom and dad both have so many brothers and sisters. In all, I have seven aunts and uncles – four of which were there. I feel truly blessed to be a part of all that craziness and love. :)

Thanksgiving is about counting our blessings and giving thanks to God for all that he has provided. I am so blessed beyond belief and I have God to thank for it. I have a healthy family, loving parents, a faithful and loving husband and three beautiful kids. I have enough money to live comfortably and send my children to good schools. We are healthy and alive. Those are the main things in life that I want and need. I don’t need anything else. Other things are just icing on the cake. I thank God everyday for the wonderful gifts that He has given me and I am truly appreciative and grateful.

Happy thanksgiving.

Bad Influences

If I could raise my kids in a protective bubble, I would.  I would protect them from injury, sickness, mean kids, and from all of the scary things in this world.  Recently, we have tried to protect Faith and Wilson from learning, what we deem as, “bad” words.  Two of the neighborhood boys that Faith and Wilson love to play with have become “off limits”.  Both kids had started telling each other to “shut up” and saying other words that are not particularly bad, but ones that we don’t let them say in our house.   The final straw was when Ella, across the street, came home and asked her mom what the middle finger meant (which she had learned from these two boys).  Tom and I decided that it was time for our children to take a break from playing with these two boys.  We knew from the beginning that there may come a time when we would have to end their friendship, but it came sooner than expected.  We didn’t want them to learn these things too early and wanted to protect them from learning more than we felt that they were ready for at the age of 4 and 6.  So, we told Faith and Wilson that they couldn’t play with the boys anymore.  Our kids were upset about it and so were the neighborhood boys.  It was a difficult decision, but one that we felt was right at the time.

The other night I had an eye opening experience while I was reading with Faith on the couch.  She looked at me, pointed to her middle finger, and said, “Mommy, what does it mean when you stick up this finger?”.  Of course my first response was, “Where did you learn about that?”.  I named a few children and she said that she didn’t learn it from any of them.   Then she said, “Does it mean that you are telling the person that they are going to hell?”.  I told her that she was sort-of right and explained it in very general terms. I told her to never, ever do that to someone.  She said that she wouldn’t and then she confessed that one of her friends told her about it in the bathroom at school…in her Christian school.  I had to almost chuckle at the irony.  I have been trying to protect Faith from learning bad words/the finger from the neighborhood kids that I decided were bad influences, yet she ended up learning it anyway in the bathroom at her Christian school.  I couldn’t believe it! (But in a way I could.)  There is no sure-fire way to protect my children from the influences of this world.  There is no “bubble” that I can put them in so that they will never know cuss words, hurt, or pain.

I can say that I don’t regret making the decision to limit the children’s interaction with the kids down the street.  There were other circumstances that played into our decision beyond just the bad words.  I do, however, have a clearer understanding about how I cannot control what my children will learn and from whom they may learn it.  What I can control is what goes on in our house:  the movies that they are exposed to, the language that I use, and teaching them to do the right thing, even when others aren’t.  Being a parent takes practice, and some things happen that just aren’t expected.  I was proud that Faith felt comfortable enough to ask me a difficult question and I was proud of myself because I answered her calmly and without accusation.  I am still going to protect my kids as much as I possibly can, knowing full-well that they will learn these things eventually.   They have the rest of their lives to know bad words and middle fingers – I want them young and innocent for as long as I can get it.  Hopefully, this will be all for a while….

Daddy’s home!

Tom was in Cambridge, MA all week for work. He left Monday morning very early and arrived back home Friday around dinner time. Needless to say, we were all very excited for his homecoming.

I have gotten pretty good at maintaining the house and all that it entails while tom is gone. We eat cereal for dinner and I try to get everyone in bed a bit early so I can relax. The hardest part is getting everyone dressed and out of the house by 7:45am and me to work by 8:30am. I did it all week and had only one small hiccup on Monday (I forgot faiths backpack at home).

We even had a mid-week movie night on Wednesday. The TV doesn’t usually get turned on in the evenings during the week, but I thought that we could all use something special to look forward to this week. I discovered that the Swiss Family Robinson was on Netflix and made an executive decision that we would be watching it for a movie night. It was awesome! What a great movie and very well done for its time. I hadn’t seen it in over thirty years so it was somewhat new to me as well. The kids smiled and laughed throughout the movie. There were a few scary parts but I just kept telling them that no one gets hurt….except for the pirates at the end. (I knew wilson would love the pirates). We had a great time watching the movie while eating pizza and popcorn.

When tom got home Friday night he was greeted by our three kids and Elliot from down the street who was sleeping over that night. Elliot has been a friend since he and Faith were almost two years old. Faith considers him one of her possible suitors for marriage later on in life. :). I always seem to have extra kids at my house. It sounds crazy but is is actually easier to have more kids than less. The visitors typically entertain my children. Elliot was wonderful to have around. They raked leaves In the backyard, played in the woods, and pretended to exercise downstairs. Even miller was a part of the action.

Because it was Friday night, a movie night was on the docket. The kids voted to watch Swiss Family Robinson again. (I am telling you…it is a great movie!). The kids all curled up on the couch to watch it and Faith lounged with Elliot. It was a great way to end the week and welcome Tom back home.



Miller’s birthday

My baby turned three on Saturday!  His birthday is actually this Friday the 21st, but Tom is going to be out of town and I am tired of thinking of, and planning for, birthdays.  I was ready for it to be Miller’s birthday and so was he.  For the last two weeks he has been talking about how he is going to go to the ice cream shop and is going to have a Thomas the Train cake.  I took him to Michael’s a few weeks ago and let him pick out his own cake pan.  In hindsight, I should have suggested a football cake, but instead let him pick out something difficult like a Thomas cake.  I am no Martha Stewart, but I tried anyway.  Of course, I used my favorite cake mix and icing from the health food store.  This cake is always delicious and the icing is awesome!


Faith and I had some Mommy-daughter time on Saturday icing the cake together.  She was a good little helper.  We had fun laughing about how silly our Thomas looked and trying to make him look as close to the real thing  as possible.  I had a Thomas book to guide me.  A few neighborhood kids even came in to help me put on the sprinkles.  It was a group effort.


As goofy as I thought the cake looked, Miller loved it.  He kept taking the stool over to the kitchen counter to look at it and admire it.  I was glad that I could give him what he really wanted for his birthday – a Thomas the Train cake.  He didn’t ask for any gifts or even expect any.   That is just how Miller is.  My mom bought him two football shirts – one of which he put on immediately and is wearing in the picture.


The party was a small one, just my parents and Grandmama Pat were invited.  We ate hamburgers and hotdogs, per Miller’s requests, and had cake.  A very simple and enjoyable evening.  It seems the parties have gotten less extravagant with each child.  Faith had a big party every year, but Miller has yet to have one.  I have realized over the years that the kids don’t care about having a big party – I just thought that they were supposed to….wrong!  I have remedied that with Miller.  He is happy just being with us.


As for Miller’s gift from us, I bought him that cute little suitcase/backpack from Costco.  He needed a suitcase for his sleepovers at Grandma’s house.  He loves it!  He rolls it around the house constantly.   Here he is with Grandmama Pat, his new football jersey, and his new suitcase…..


I have been so blessed to have Miller as my little boy.  He is so sweet and funny.  He rarely gets in trouble and when he does it is hard to be mad at him.  He has started to torment Wilson a little bit, but he has also started playing with him as well.  It is fun to see the two boys playing and becoming friends.  Miller is also reaching the age when he switches from being a Mommy’s boy to now being a Daddy’s boy.  This is always a bitter-sweet time for me.  I finally get a reprieve and can use both of my hands to do things, but it is also a sad time because he doesn’t want to be with me as much as he used to.  I know that my baby is growing up and will need me less and less as time goes by.   This is a fact of life, but one that I don’t look forward to happening.  I know that I have talked about this numerous times, but it still doesn’t make it any easier.  My babies are all growing up and having three birthdays within six weeks may be more than one Mommy can handle!  I love my little Miller and am so proud of who he is: sweet, funny, smart, silly, and increasingly independent.  Happy Birthday Miller!!


Becca Time

Life has been very busy in our household lately.  We have had a birthday party (or two) every weekend for the past two months, Tom started a new job, I started back teaching at the preschool, Wilson is in preschool at Cross and Crown, Faith is in first grade at CDS, Tom has had many church board meetings, I having been doing my usual house cleaning/projects, and we are trying to decide if we should sell our house!  I think the most stressful thing to me is the decision of whether or not to sell the house and move to a better school district, or to stay where we are and enter the charter school lottery.  (Either way we are entering the lottery, but we don’t know if we will win the lottery or not)….That will need to be an entirely different blog post altogether!!

Because major life decisions completely stress me out, I needed a night out to myself.  I really didn’t want to do the whole bed-time routine, it is exhausting and extremely mundane.  Last night Tom and I both fell asleep at 8:30pm while putting the kids to bed.  I have to say that physically I felt GREAT this morning and had a great day with the boys, but this evening I really needed to get out of my house.  We made frozen pizzas for dinner (which made me cringe because of the ingredients, but sometimes you just have to overlook those things) and then I left.  The first thing I did was to go to the shoe store to try on boots.  I would like a new pair but didn’t plan to actually buy anything.  I just wanted to try them on and put them on my birthday/Christmas list.  Then I headed over to Finz, which is a small restaurant in Matthews that I knew had a margarita special tonight.  I have to say that I am not doing anything luxurious, but I AM out of the house.  Honestly, I am sitting here drinking a margarita, reading over our insurance information for next year, and typing this blog post.  Not very exciting, but I am alone and enjoying sitting here in peace doing what I want to do for a while.

For my birthday last year, Sidney gave me a small placard that read, “Know when to give up and have a margarita.”  Tonight is one of those nights…


Renaissance Festival

We were invited to the Renaissance Festival with Bobby and Sidney Youngs on Saturday.  I hadn’t been to the Festival in over fifteen years so I really didn’t know what to expect.  Sidney had told me that the kids could dress up in their finest princess and knight costumes and that Wilson should bring a sword.  The kids all dressed up:  Faith was a princess, Wilson was a king, and Miller was a pirate.  Wilson looked the best donning a crown and a king’s robe.  As soon as we walked in the front entrance a wandering employee taught the boys how to sword fight.  I don’t think he knew who he was up against….


If you like to people watch then the Renaissance Festival is for you!!  I had no idea that grown men dressed up in Shakespearean/pirate/knight costumes.  Some of them had to have spent a lot of money on these costumes.  There were also lots of fairies, wenches, and boobs popping out of corsets. It was a sight to see.  It was difficult to tell who worked there and who was just in the spirit of things.

The kids loved the rides.  They were all simple rides that worked without electricity – just muscle.  The kids did the trampoline jump, the pirate ship ride, and a few other things.  I was thankful that we didn’t have to spend money on tickets to get in, because we still spent a bunch on rides and ice cream.

My favorite part of the day was the sword swallower who named himself “Tom Celectomy”.  haha.  That man coulD” do some crazy stuff.  Not sure how he was able to hammer a nail into his nose that was parallel to the floor, but he did.  He also swallowed numerous swords, a balloon and had a very quick sense of humor.  When Tom-celectomy asked who was a doubter, my Grandmama raised her hand.  Inevitably,  he called her up to the stage to help prove that he was really swallowing a sword.  It was so funny and Grandmama was a great sport.  It was so out of character to see her up on stage with a sword swallower, laughing and playing along.  She did a great job.  In the end he actually swallowed a long, blown up clown balloon that was three feet long.  It was totally disgusting and made me want to throw up!  I literally began to gag.  Yes, even with the gagging, it was my favorite part of the day…






Here is Miller and Grandmama walking the streets together…



Faith, Jesse and Wilson watching the jugglers…



One of the biggest attractions was the joust.  Three different men jousted each other and determined a winner.  The boys, specifically Wilson, loved this part.  The men rode a horse towards each other with the javelin aimed at the others’ shield.  They got points if the shield broke, the javelin broke, or the shield stuck to the javelin.  Our blue knight lost but it was fun to watch….






After the joust was break for ice cream and then home.  We were all tired from walking most of the day and we ended up carrying half of the kids on the way back to the car.  A great day outside as a family enjoying our friends’ company.



Faith is 7!



The birthdays just keep coming. Two down and two to go!  Faith turned seven-years-old this past week. I always said that I could envision her as old as six, but now we have surpassed that – she is seven.  I asked her a few weeks ago where she wanted to have her party and she said that she wanted to have it at home.  She had quite an extensive list of friends that she wanted to invite, 25 in all.  In hopes that not everyone would be able to attend, I waited until about 1.5 weeks before the party to send out the emails inviting her friends.  In the end, about 16 of her closest friends from school and church were able to come to the party.  We had planned to have games out in the yard, but the weather turned nasty, and it was rainy and only 45 degrees.  Not a perfect day to have everyone outside.  We still had the party at our house and hoped for the best.   I decided to have the kids paint a craft when they arrived, play indoor games and then have cake.  Of course, I also scheduled the party to last only one and a half hours, which is a much more reasonable amount of time to entertain children at our house.  The party was a lot of fun!

The kids painted their picture frame or birdhouse when they first arrived.  Then everyone came into the living room to play “hot potato” and “freeze dance”.  I had no idea that those two games would be so much fun!  The kids loved them and asked to play them again and again.  It was so cute to see sixteen 4-7 year olds dancing around the living room and having the best time together.  They were laughing and showing their best moves.  The kids were so happy to be together having fun.  After the games, the kids decorated cookies, danced some more, had cake, and watched Faith open her gifts.  Then the party was over.  Of course, it was much louder after everyone had cookies and ice cream cake….much louder.

I knew that I would be tired after the party, so I had bought only four tickets for Tom and the kids to go see The Little Mermaid play at Faith’s school that afternoon.  I needed peace and quiet…and a nap.  I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch for 1.5 hours while everyone was at the play.  I was exhausted!   Tom was a good Daddy and took them to the play while I slept.  I then met them at the Tony’s pizza for an early dinner.  (Tom got his nap later).  :)

It was a great day.  Faith loved her party and so did her friends.  Faith has grown up so much over the last year.  She is still as sweet and kind as ever.  She is a great big sister to Wilson, and especially to Miller.  She still likes to sleep in Miller’s room with him on occasion.  I am just so proud of who she is and how she conducts herself most of the time.  She is kind to her friends and wants everyone to be happy.  She sees only the good in people.  In school, she is a wonderful student and loves to be there.  Every penny that we have spent for her to attend Covenant Day has been worth it.  Faith has been taking gymnastics for a month now, and by the third week they had already moved her up into the next level of classes.   She loves it and works hard at practice each week.  I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about Faith.  She is my “sweet girl” and I am so thankful and blessed that she is mine!  Happy birthday Faith!!

Here is the group pictures….






And the silly shot….




Robin, Faith and Hadley…



IMG_2072 IMG_2079

Faith and her “boyfriend” Stephen Donaldson….






Tom painted the rock in front of Faith’s school….




Freeze Dance….